Heavy rains lash Taiwan as Typhoon Koinu approaches island

Manila, Oct 4 (EFE).- Typhoon Koinu was gaining strength on Wednesday as it left the Philippines and approached southern Taiwan, where it is already causing heavy rains and strong winds, leading to the suspension of flights and schools being shut down.

Pick up strength in its passage across the Philippine Sea over the recent days, Koinu is expected to make landfall on Taiwan’s southeastern coast, near Taitung city, on Thursday morning as a category 3 typhoon, as per the specialized website Tropical Storm Risk (TSR).

Taiwan, already impacted by heavy pre-typhoon rains and winds, has canceled around 100 flights, and shut down schools and businesses on the Penghu archipelago, according to state-run news agency CNA.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Administration (CWA) forecast shows that the southern and eastern parts of Taiwan will be the hardest hit by rainfall brought by Koinu, with extremely heavy rain expected in the Hengchun Peninsula and mountainous areas of Pingtung County.

As of 5 pm Wednesday, the typhoon’s eye was situated approximately 155 km north-northeast of the Batanes province in the Philippines, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The typhoon is carrying sustained winds of up to 155 kph and gusts reaching 190 kph.

“Based on the track forecast, the typhoon will make landfall over the southern portion of Taiwan tomorrow morning, (and) then exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon or evening,” PAGASA said.

The weather agency has warned that Koinu will continue to bring heavy rains, with the risk of flooding and rain-induced landslides in northern Philippines, particularly in susceptible mountainous areas, until Thursday.

The Philippines typically experiences around twenty cyclonic storms annually, although their frequency and strength may have been exacerbated by climate change in recent years.

This year the situation could get worse due to the arrival of El Niño, a meteorological phenomenon that warms the oceans and increases the likelihood of storms, according to scientists. EFE


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